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What the Professional Literature Says About Technology and Learning: An Annotated Bibliography

Professional Literature
Research Studies

Professional Literature:

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2003). Learning for the 21st Century. U.S. Department of Education: Washington, D.C. Available at:

Learning for the 21st Century articulates a collective vision for learning in the 21st century and makes recommendations on how to define and integrate 21st century skills into K-12 curricula through four sections:

  • Defining the Need for Change reflects on what kind of education connects to students' real lives as well as how people best learn.
  • The Six Key Elements of 21st Century Learning acknowledges the importance of traditional core subjects but expands them with missing elements that make the core subjects relevant to the world in which students live and eventually may work. These six elements form the "Bridge to 21st Century Learning" – 21st Century Tools, Learning Skills, Core Subjects, 21st Century Content, 21st Century Context, and Assessment.
  • Implementing 21st Century Skills: Nine Steps to Build Momentum provides the roadmap for implementing this vision of education both locally and nationally and lists the strategic activities that key stakeholders can do to support the effort.
  • Milestones for Improving Learning and Education (The "Mile Guide") is a unique self-analysis tool to help schools and districts evaluate where they are on the road to being a 21st century learning environments.

Lemke, C., Vandersall, K., Ravden, D. (2004). National trends: Enhancing education through technology. SEDTA: Washington, D.C.
Available at:

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal association representing the state directors for educational technology. SETDA’s national report highlights state trends in implementing Title II, Part D of No Child Left Behind. This report is the synthesis of data collected from 46 states, representing 92% of the federal ed-tech dollars allocated across the United States in 2002-2003, through a comprehensive survey on the impact of the competitive and formula grant processes of Enhancing Education Through Technology. Survey respondents indicated:

  • The competitive grant program has much greater potential for advancing Title II D program goals than the formula program does (excepting those LEAs receiving more substantial formula awards).
  • Many states are attempting to stretch state administrative and technical support funds to provide guidance and training in program evaluation; most find that such budgets are used up by the administrative requirements.
  • Collaboration and cooperation between federal and state programs is on the rise.
  • The expectation is that the formula grants would be used to sustain and maintain current programs, while the competitive funds would be used to take education technology to the next level.
  • Even though program evaluation is important, research studies are needed to report with confidence that, under the right conditions, specific uses of technology are effective in improving student learning.

CEO Forum on Education and Technology. (2001). Key Building Blocks for Student Achievement in the 21st Century.
Available at:

The CEO Forum on Education and Technology was founded in the fall of 1996 to help ensure that America's schools effectively prepare all students to be contributing citizens and productive workers in the 21st Century. To meet this objective, the Forum issued an annual assessment of the nation's progress toward integrating technology into American classrooms. This report is the fourth and final report issued by the CEO Forum and concludes:

  • That effective uses of technology to enhance student achievement are based on four building blocks:
    • Alignment – across curriculum, learning standards, and objectives;
    • Assessment – advocate for changes in outdated assessments and adopting multiple measures to evaluate student learning;
    • Accountability – use information technology to monitoring student progress, generating and analyzing performance data, gather evidences of what works, and information continuous school improvement planning; and
    • Access and Analysis –equalize opportunities for all students and teachers to use technology.
  • Student achievement is defined using 21st Century Skills – digital literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity.

Dirr, P. (2004). Measuring the impact of technology on classroom teaching and learning. ATEC: Alexandria, VA.
Available at:

The ATEC is a consortium of public and non-profit private organizations that provide research-based direct assistance and practical solutions to educators striving to integrate technology into the classroom experience. Produced in partnership with the ATEC, Dr. Dirr wrote this report to help states, school districts, and school personnel plan ways to measure the impact that technology is having on classroom practices and academic achievement. The report is also intended to help technology directors conceive comprehensive and systematic evaluations from which they can develop a dynamic body of knowledge that feeds ever-expanding uses of technology to improve student achievement. Major findings from the report include:

  • Encourage SEAs and LEAs to set aside 10% to 15% to evaluate their technology grants;
  • Provide a model comprehensive plan for states and districts to consider as they design their own evaluation plans that includes a statement of purpose, identifies clear objectives, demonstrates valid approaches to research design, and specifies appropriate time frames for analysis and reporting;
  • Support efforts to develop shared instruments and sets of common data elements;
  • Develop a database of “best practices” for technology programs and applications that have shown to support student achievement in scientifically based research studies;
  • Develop a list of highly qualified researchers and evaluators from whom SEAs and LEAs can obtain guidance; and
  • Explore the development of validated instruments that could be shared across states.

Ringstaff, C., Kelley, L. (2002). The learning return on our educational technology investment. San Francisco: WestEd.
Available at:

WestEd is a nonprofit research, development, and service agency that strives to enhance and increase education and human development within schools, families, and communities. Over the last decade, K-12 spending on computer-based technology in the United States has tripled. Given these realities, policymakers at state and local levels want to know how and under what circumstances technology can make a difference in instruction and learning. This report addresses research findings, focusing on policy and pedagogical issues surrounding whether the current level of spending on technology makes a difference in student learning. Major findings in this report include:

  • A distinction is made between:
    • Students learning “from” computers – where technology used essentially as tutors and serves to increase students basic skills and knowledge; and,
    • Students learning “with” computers – where technology is used a tool that can be applied to a variety of goals in the learning process and serves as a resource to help develop higher order thinking, creativity and research skills.
  • Crucial factors for successfully using technology:
    • Best used as one component in a broad-based reform effort;
    • Teachers must be adequately trained to use technology;
    • Teachers need to change their beliefs about teaching and learning;
    • Technology resources must be sufficient and accessible;
    • Effective technology use requires long-term planning and support; and
    • Technology should be integrated into the curricular and instructional framework.

Culp, K.M., Honey, M., and Mandinach, E. (2003). A retrospective on twenty years of education technology policy. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
Available at:

Researchers at the Center for Children and Technology (CCT) were commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology, as part of the development of the National Education Technology Plan, mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, to analyze 20 years of national education technology policy. The CCT is a center of Education Development Center, an international non-profit organization based in Newton, Massachusetts. For more than two decades, CCT has been investigating how technology can make a difference in children's classrooms, schools and communities.

According to the report, educational technologists and researchers have developed a deeper understanding of the complex factors affecting the success of technology integration in schools. The focus has shifted away from an emphasis on "single input" strategies, such as the wiring of schools, to an appreciation of the multiple aspects of the educational system that influence the way technology is used. Two themes emerged the necessity for better understanding of:

  • How practitioners’ needs and challenges provide a guiding force that shapes where and how technology becomes a part of the educational system; and
  • The systemic nature of educational change and educational technology integration.

This review of research, policy, and reports over the past 20 years revealed seven common recommendations made to support and sustain investments in technology:

  • Improve access, connectivity, and requisite infrastructure;
  • Create more, high quality content and software;
  • Provide more, sustained, high-quality professional development and overall support for teachers seeking to innovate and grow in this domain;
  • Increase funding from multiple sources for a range of relevant activities;
  • Define and promote the roles of multiple stakeholders, including public and private sectors;
  • Increase and diversify research, evaluation, and assessment; and
  • Review, revise, and update regulations and policy that affect in-school use of technology and security.

Dickard, N. (Ed). (2003). The sustainability challenge: Taking ed-tech to the next level. Washington, DC: Benton Foundation.
Available at:

In the last 10 years, the United States has invested over $40 billion placing computers in schools and connecting classrooms to the Internet; the report cautions that this massive investment in educational technology, or edtech, may be at risk. The Sustainability Challenge outlines a number of critical next steps that are needed to sustain America's edtech infrastructure and insure that this investment helps support student achievement. The report offers a "Sustainability Top Ten List" of reforms necessary for insuring that the nation's edtech investments do not go to waste. The list includes:

  1. Accelerate teacher professional development;
  2. "Professionalize" technical support;
  3. Implement authentic edtech assessments;
  4. Create a national digital trust for content development;
  5. Ensure all Americans have 21st century skills;
  6. Make it a national priority to bridge the home and community digital divides;
  7. Focus on the emerging broadband divide;
  8. Increase funding for the federal edtech block grant;
  9. Share what works; and
  10. Continue edtech funding research.

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This page last updated 2/19/07